One-Legged Phoenix Cage Fighter Wins First MMA Fight

Matt Betzold
Matt Betzold

Matt Betzold, the 25-year-old cage fighter who lost one of his legs when he was just a kid, won his first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight Saturday night.

Betzold, who's from Payson but now lives in the Valley, lost his leg after a family friend put poison mushroom spores in his candy when he was 6 years old. Betzold went into a coma and developed a blood clot that forced doctors to remove his leg.

Well, one leg is no problem for this fierce fighter, and he stomped his opponent in the first round of Saturday's rumble. Um, presumably with his just the one leg. During fights, he's sans prosthetic and starts from ground level.

Betzold, who was just sanctioned to fight last month, predicted last week that he would get his opponent to tap out in the first round, and that's exactly what he did.

With a record of 96-26 in grappling fights, Betzold lured his fully imbed opponent to the ground and went to work, causing him to tap out about halfway through the first round.

In the history of sanctioned cage fighting, Betzold is only the second disabled fighter to compete, and his victory earned him a standing ovation from the crowd at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.

Betzold, who can't stand on his own without the help of the prosthetic, got a standing ovation from the crowd. Pun intended.


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